The 2014 CrossFit Games season is upon us. The Open beings this week. First I’d like to say that I truly love this time of year. The energy and fun of the Games Season is simply amazing.
Now I’m going to tell you a not-so-secret. I do not have “Open Fever.” I don’t think you should either. There is really only one excusable group of athletes that (in my opinion) are allowed to have Open Fever.
I’m defining Open Fever as a condition which occurs for 7 weeks around the CrossFit Open. This condition manifests itself in many ways, including over training, general bad mood, neurosis, and a sore finger from checking the leader boards frequently. For my purposes, over training here can mean one of two things. The first being an athlete doing the week’s Open WOD 2 or more times, on top of or in lieu of their regular training. The second being the athlete that decides one week before the open that it’s time to REALLY WORK ON *insert skill here* or their motor.
Open Fever is allowable for athletes on the bubble. This means the athlete may or may not make Regionals. This athlete may have missed by a few spots last year, or just made it by the skin of their teeth. This athlete may have improved exponentially over the past year and has tested last year’s Open WODs and has come up with Regionals level scores. Open Fever is also allowable for athletes who are competing to make it onto a Regionals team. Though, these athletes could be lumped in with the above, as they need high individual scores to propel their box and team to the top of the leader boards. The extra rep these athletes may perform may propel them onto a team, or right to Regionals.
I get it. I understand we all want to show our best show on the leader boards. I also think we need to take a step back and ask ourselves what the Open means to us, and evaluate what the Open is meant to test — AND if we want to be tested.
The Open is amazing. CrossFit has put together something great, that just keeps getting better. 5 weeks and 5 WODs to test our fitness. Every box pulls together during this time and has a blast. Most set aside a few hours a week to have an Open party. Athletes come in and do the work out for judges, and then hang out together afterwards. The Open really builds on our sense of community. Most boxes also encourage everyone at the box to sign up, and throw their hat into the ring. I love this idea, personally. It’s getting new and old crossfitters together for the same “cause.” The Open is meant to test our fitness. For new crossfitters, it will set a baseline to look back on. For old crossfitters, we can see our improvement throughout the sport.
Now that I’ve sung the praises of the Open, let me tell you why I don’t have Open Fever.
- I’m “old,” (34) asthmatic, and am 4 months off of an injury. Read this as: there is not even a snowball’s chance in hell I would make it to Regionals. You might think this is all one big excuse. But it’s not. Why? See reason 2.
- My goals for 2014 have absolutely nothing to do with CrossFit. My current goals as an athlete are to prepare for and compete in my first Weightlifting competition, do a muscle up, and learn to walk on my hands. My current training is programmed for those goals. I typically only do one WOD per week, for fun.
- Even if that snowball had a chance, and I decided that I DID want to make a run at Regionals, I simply don’t have the motor, or the time to build that motor. I’m also missing some important skills from my toolkit. Conditioning does come back quickly, yes, but not in less than a month.
Here’s what I think you, me, and the regular crossfitters of the world should think about to keep ourselves from Open Fever and to turn in our best performances:
- Commit to only doing the Open WODs once.
- Commit to the Open WOD being just another WOD in your week of workouts.
- Don’t do it Thursday night unless your schedule precludes you from doing it at another time. Do it Saturday or Sunday. Allow yourself to read up on the strategies coming out from top coaches. Even though these stratigies are geared towards elite level athletes, we can still take a page out of that book and maybe get an extra rep or two. In this case, it’s okay to be voraciously reading about CrossFit at work. ;)
- Compete with your box. For example, my box is set up to judge the WOD from 2-5pm on Sundays. Everyone who wants to be judged must register for that time. Get your box-mates to sign up for the same time you do. Ask your friends to come watch and cheer (if allowed at your box.) You’ll have a great time, and the cheering and energy will help you push out those extra reps. Get caught up in THIS energy. This is good energy.
- Don’t let “no-reps” get you down. If you get no-repped, move on. If you don’t know why you were no-repped, ask your judge right away. They should be able to give you a quick cue that will help make sure you are meeting movement standards.
- Have a simple goal around the Open if you need something to shoot for. Complete all 5 WODs. Complete all movements in all 5 WODs. Do more chest to bar pull ups than you did last year.
- Keep your own yearly fitness goals in mind. The Open tests our fitness, it’s meant to test and show improvement from year to year. Keep in mind though, that your goals may not align with this. If your goal was to increase your snatch 50lbs, and you put up +60lbs, you met your goal and then some. Don’t let that get overshadowed.
Yes, I will be participating in the Open. Why? Because I want to see what I can do. But will I be biting my fingernails to the quick over the results? Nope. Will I be doing these workouts more than once? Nope. Will I enjoy the community at my box and cheer on everyone participating? Yes. Will I have a great time? Yes. Do I love CrossFit? Yes.